A. R. Pierce and A. L. Rankin papers 1873-1880
Collection Scope and Content Note
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Adam Lowry Rankin's lengthy letters to his friend in Vermont, A.R. Pierce are filled with detailed information on the buildings, people, and religious life in Tulare during the turbulent years of the 1870s. Rankin provides unusually detailed descriptions of both of the houses in which he lived, including a floor plan of one, of his garden, the church being constructed for him, and the town.
The true heart of the collection, however, is the protracted struggle between Rankin and his rivals. Rankin's early enthusiasm for his mission was met with a wall of apathy by the residents of Tulare, who seem always to have been more concerned with malicious gossip and grudges than salvation. Rankin comments at length on his failing ministry, on the religious and social tensions in town, and on the friction resulting from those whom Rankin considered as moral backsliders. Rankin's financial difficulties his relationship with both the Congregational Church hierarchy and the American Home Missionary Society also figure throughout the collection.